On January 6 the government approved Estonia’s development plan for development co-operation and humanitarian aid for the years 2011-2015 and the implementation plan of the development plan for the years 2011-2012.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that in terms of Estonia’s development co-operation partners, a new opportunity has arisen to engage in intensified co-operation with the European Union Eastern Partnership countries. “First and foremost with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia, where our help is welcomed and useful. Afghanistan will also continue to be an important development co-operation partner of Estonia,” Paet explained.
According to the foreign minister, the new development plan focuses more on achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals than the previous plan. “For this reason a new area we are focusing on is the development of the health care sector, for which we primarily rely on Estonia’s activities in Afghanistan and in international organisations,” said Paet. “We will try to address protecting the rights of women and improving their situation more than before, as well as the development of the economy, including trade and agriculture,” he added. The strategy also foresees activities related to the development and utilisation of IT solutions across the board.
Paet stated that development co-operation and humanitarian aid are important foreign policy sectors and it is essential for Estonia’s contribution and level of activity in these areas to increase in the coming years. “We have made it our goal that by 2015 we will be allocating at least 0.15% of our GDP for development aid, moving towards the goal of the proportion that the European Union recommends for contributing to development co-operation, which is 0.33% of GDP,” said Paet.
Main Development Co-operation Partners are Afghanistan and EU Eastern Partnership States